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Senate unanimously confirms gay judicial nominee to Federal Circuit

LGBT Legal Cases

Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill
Yesterday, the Senate unanimously confirmed the first out gay judge to sit on a federal appeals court. The vote to confirm Todd Hughes was 98-0 and according to reports, there was little to no discussion of Hughes’ sexual orientation during the floor debate.

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, where Hughes was nominated, has jurisdiction over certain kinds of cases “including international trade, government contracts, patents, trademarks, certain money claims against the United States government, federal personnel, veterans’ benefits, and public safety officers’ benefits claims,” so cases involving LGBT rights are unlikely to be appealed there.

As Think Progress has noted, earlier attempts made by President Obama to appoint judicial nominees to federal appeals courts have been blocked:

[…]Obama‚Äôs first attempt to nominate an openly gay man to a federal appeals court was thwarted by 18 months of Senate obstruction, until Edward DuMont finally withdrew his nomination. Another nominee who would be the first openly gay black man on the federal bench is now facing opposition from his own home-state senator, Marco Rubio (R-FL).

President Obama has nominated a record number of out LGBT people to federal judgeships, but until yesterday the Senate had only confirmed judges for some lower courts. Fifty judicial nominees are awaiting Senate confirmation.

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